Turkeys are thawing in a bath of cold water, pies are baking in the oven, family members are arriving at the homes of their loved ones… and the shopping frenzy that surrounds the holidays has already begun as shoppers camp in tents outside of some of their favorite retailers in anticipation of great savings. The competition for your holiday dollars is a fierce one, indeed.
What makes you want to buy from one retailer over another? Is it all about cost? Does quality factor into your decision? What about the type of business you give your money to? A recent nationwide poll revealed that 70 percent of Americans feel such a strong sense of gratitude toward the men and women who have served in the military that they would prefer to purchase from a veteran-owned business.
A sense of gratitude is a wonderful reason to support veteran-owned businesses, but is that the only reason? As you are planning how and where to spend your holiday shopping dollars this season, we would like you to consider three reasons to Buy Veteran this year and in the future.
3) Veterans Want to Continue to Help America Thrive
According to the Small Business Administration, 25 percent of returning troops wish to own or buy a business. With nearly 400,000 troops leaving the service annually, Americans can expect to see a surge in vetreprenuers in the coming years. With an unemployment rate of 10 percent for veterans who have served since 9/11, owning a business can provide valuable employment opportunities for veterans. But those employment opportunities are also helping to give back to the American economy. The SBA also reports that veteran-owned businesses have annual sales of $1.2 trillion, 5.7 million employees, and an annual payroll of $210 billion.
Many service members report that they joined the military out of love for their country and a desire to serve. When they end their service, many still have a desire to continue to serve in a different way. Running a successful business, helping to grow a local economy, and providing employment opportunities for fellow Americans (and often times other veterans), can allow them to feel like they are making a significant difference.
2) Yellow Ribbons are Simply Not Enough
Americans have been generous with their sentiments of support in recent years. More than ever we are engaged in sending messages of thanks, supporting military charities, and trying to show our veterans that we appreciate the sacrifices they have made for this country. Some may say that supporting our troops has become the “popular” thing to do, and that may be the case, but for the most part the support is genuine. Still, many Americans wish they could do something tangible. They want to make sure they are doing more than simply putting a yellow ribbon on their front door, or sending a letter to a deployed service member.
Our veterans are going to need support for a long time after every single boot is back on American soil. Supporting them in their business ventures by purchasing their products or using their services is a great way to make sure they will thrive many years after they complete their service.
1) We Can Never Thank Them Too Much
Is gratitude the only reason to support veteran-owned businesses? No. But it might be the only reason you need. A large number of Americans will never be able or willing to make the sacrifices necessary to protect and defend our way of life. To those who are able and willing… we owe them not only a debt of gratitude, but our support. Through our support we are saying “thank you” for spending time away from their loved ones, for learning the skills needed to win wars, for giving more of themselves than we can ever give back to them, and for the willingness to lay down their very lives for the United States of America.
This holiday season there is a way to say “thank you” to our U.S. military veterans tangibly; by supporting veteran-owned businesses with your shopping dollars. To find a veteran-owned business in your area, visit the online business directory BuyVeteran.com, powered by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA). Just type in your ZIP code and find the businesses in your area. Simple and rewarding!